Published on April 20, 2010
Is Lady Gagaa Postmodern Feminist? : Is Lady Gagaa Postmodern Feminist? Or not . . .? Slide 2: Postmodern Feminism is a critique of the idea that there are essential categories for gender. By pointing out the constructedness of gender, it seeks to undermine gender hierarchies Critics of Postmodern Feminism argue that playing with gender “constructs” doesn’t make them go away – and can, in fact, reassert them. Slide 3: Why Bath Haus? Two options: A reference to Turkish Bath Haus A reference to Queer Subculture Either way, a reference to something outside the text that the reader will likely “map” onto the text. Slide 4: The faceless latex creatures of Gaga’s bathhouse are a sort of sexy alien – part human and part plastic By confusing the boundaries of human and non-human, I raise questions about the constructions of all boundaries. Or . . . I like wearing really tight clothes. Slide 5: When I appear in the video, words like “ugly” and “disease” are playing in the song. And I’m sitting here like this so that you can see the ways my spine and ribs are displayed. Sexy or sickly? I make you ask that question. Slide 6: In fact, I’m always right on that boundary – between super sexy, and distorted creepy. This makes you wonder if all of your ideas about what’s sexy are distorted. And creepy. Slide 7: Nevertheless, they still take part in a tradition of women styling themselves for the gaze of the heterosexual male. My pink hair and doe eyes are ironic references to beauty culture. Slide 8: Check out these shoes. They exaggerate an idea that is commonplace, and that makes you think about what we think of as “normal.” Unless, of course, it just makes you want shoes that are even more extreme than the ones that are already breaking women’s toes. Slide 9: Women are complicit in their own oppression. These two are drugging me to turn me into a sex slave Am I making you question why women would participate? Or am I just giving you more and more images of women’s bodies tangled up in suggestive ways? Slide 10: Check out the waistline and the creepy spine. I’m using computer graphics to emphasize features that we “say” we like in women’s bodies. How far are we willing to go? Slide 11: With one “costume,” Gaga critiques the entire history of women’s oppression through fashion. Are we supposed to think she looks pretty? Corsets Foot Binding False Eyelashes Wigs Slide 12: Don’t I look pretty? Slide 13: Do images like this one reinforce ideas about what women’s bodies are supposed to look like? Or do they point out the hideousness of such “embodiments” of the beauty standard? Slide 14: I think I’m supposed to be a “Damsel in Distress” because that is how other artists are portrayed… Slide 15: But because I don’t allow my gender restrictions represent how I am perceived… I don’t have to be the next “Britney” or “Christina” Slide 16: Am I unwillingly objectified? Or am I authorizing my own power? Slide 17: Now I move into the position of the leader of nonconformity among conformity Slide 18: I am both endangered and dangerous. Love and revenge are entwined, as are hunter and hunted, resistance and submission. Slide 19: The category of gender is a means of oppression. (Gaga is forced to be a sex slave) The category of gender is a source of liberation. (Gaga sets her captor on fire with her electrified bra) Slide 20: These ideas are consistent across the body of Gaga’s work. If anything, Gaga is more self-conscious about her use of image over time. Her most recent video, “Telephone” demonstrates this. Slide 21: I’m dressed up to look like Madonna, so you see that I’m “playing” with the idea of being a pop icon. I look serious, but don’t take me seriously. I have aluminum cans for curlers, so it’s an ironic reference. Slide 22: And I have an obsession with images – to the extent that I create hi-res still shots from my videos for your consumption My glasses made out of cigarettes, currency among prisoners, highlight the consumer driven culture I exist in. Slide 23: Yes, I’m practically naked here – which reinforces our obsession with objectifying women’s bodies But I’m marking that same body as a crime scene. And I’m controlling the images Slide 24: So when you buy those images. . . Are you buying into the idea that women’s bodies are readily available commodities? Or are you in on the joke? Slide 25: Presentation by: Dr. Jen Bacon Dr. Rodney Mader Ms. Kelly Klick Lady Gaga. “Bad Romance.” The Fame Monster. Interscope, 2009. Music Video. Dir. Francis Lawrence. MTV. 15 March 2010. Lady Gaga. “Telephone.” The Fame Monster. Interscope, 2009. Music Video. Dir. Jonas Åkerlund. MTV. 15 March 2010.